The ominous flash forward at the end of Riverdale's Season 3 finale has loomed large as senior year for the Core Four plays out this season on The CW series. Going into the season, there was already that dark tease of Jughead's fate in the spring, one that appears to have been confirmed in another flash forward that showed Betty and F.P. identifying his corpse. That flash forward took on an even more grim reality when the next one showed Archie, Veronica, and Betty all being arrested for that murder. Now, though, tonight's flash forward offers a new twist that may start to call into question the guilt of those closest to Jughead.
Spoilers for tonight's episode of Riverdale, "In Treatment," below.
Much of tonight's episode focuses on the Core Four meeting with Ms. Burble, Riverdale High's incredibly competent and observant guidance counselor. As she meets with each student to help them through the stressful time -- college admission letters are starting to come out -- she uncannily gets to the very core of their issues and offers them all a lot of food for thought and in some cases, sound advice on how to move forward. For Jughead, that includes the suggestion that if he's going to be trying to solve the mystery of his Grandfather and the Baxter Boys he should lean into actual evidence and facts rather than the conspiracy theories he so loves.
It's good advice -- or at least as good of advice one can get if they're a high school student trying to uncover a vast conspiracy -- and Jughead certainly takes it. The next we see of him he's not only doubled down and caught up on his schoolwork and applied to college at last, but he's also been doing research looking for facts about the members of the secret society his grandfather was part of. What he discovers is a bit chilling: every single member, save for his grandfather and Francis DuPont, the man Jughead believes stole the Baxter Brothers empire. What's worse is that all of those deaths were terrible accidents -- that to Jughead seems suspicious. Betty suggests that if that's the case, then Jughead needs to get away from that school.
And then, we get the flash forward. Archie, Betty, and Veronica are brought in for a lineup and are identified as Jughead's "murderers" by two "witnesses": Bret Weston Wallis and Donna Sweett.
The reveal that those two in particular are the alleged witnesses to Jughead's murder certainly calls into question how accurate it is that Archie, Betty, and Veronica are actually guilty but, more than that, the actual status of Jughead. While it could be assumed that it's possible that Donna and Bret killed Jughead themselves as Jughead and Betty both believed that the pair were trying to cover up a murder themselves, it could also be assumed that it's possible that Jughead's friends have laid a trap for the pair with an elaborate ruse of faking Jughead's murder.
Admittedly, that second consideration might be a stretch, but this is Riverdale. Things that seem like a stretch usually end up being the closest thing to reality on the show. With that in mind, whatever is going on in those flash forwards may end up being one wild ride.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.
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